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Christchurch United has responded quickly to the challenges that the Covid-19 virus has created for the football community by developing new online video coaching programmes and social media competitions.
Only hours after New Zealand Football shut down trainings and delayed competitions, United’s professional coaching staff started work on online coaching modules for its academy players and fun football challenges for all its players.
“Only hours after NZF announced their decisions, our coaching staff were already filming different exercises on the field, and by last Thursday our first online training session was available through Facebook, Instagram and YouTube,” said Christchurch United head of coaching Michiel Buursma.
Buursma says the players will be able to watch the instructions on their phones or iPads and keep practising in their own backyard or a nearby field.
“They have all worked so hard over the past few months to get ready for the season, so it is important we help them to maintain their skills,” says Buursma.
Aside from the training modules, the Christchurch United coaches are also developing daily fun video challenges where the young players can practice and film specific skills and share through social media channels.
“That way we want to maintain a connection between our players, even when we are not able to get together, with fun challenges that will also appeal to their competitive nature,” Buursma said.
Christchurch United has an extensive network of footballing contacts with clubs around the world and has contacted clubs in Australia and Europe to see if their players also want to join the challenges.
Football has come to a halt in every country and other clubs are also looking for new opportunities.
“Once we have completed testing these challenges and are confident our systems can copy with a wider influx, we want to invite players from around New Zealand and overseas to join in. I am sure our players will enjoy testing themselves against their peers at other clubs,” he said.
Buursma also hopes other clubs will recognise that this could be a great way to keep the young players engaged with football.
The head of coaching says new digital initiatives will be even more important now schools are closed and children are looking for things to do.
“Now the schools are closed in New Zealand, it is important to look for ways to reach our footballers when they can’t get together to play or train.”
To view the videos go to the Christchurch United Facebook, YouTube or Instagram account. Here is a link to one of the exercises.